I’ve been wanting to write this article about Dungeons & Dragons since I started this blog way back in September (hey, it seems like a long time ago for me!). I’ve been reading a lot lately about the game and its somewhat shocking resurgence in the past few years–ever since the release of the Fifth Edition, or “5e” as we call it–and I thought I’d share my thoughts on why it’s gotten huge again.
I mean, even The New Yorker has written about D&D, for crying out loud! How legitimate can it get?
SIDE NOTE: I do feel like there’s still an unfortunate stigma attached to the game left over from the “satanic” scare of the ’80s. I didn’t even want to mention that, but I felt like it was the elephant in the room. Suffice to say that it was a case of parents not really knowing what their kids were up to, and then jumping to the wrong conclusions thanks to news reports and “60 Minutes” sensationalism. If you want to lean more, check out this article from Geek and Sundry.
Let’s just say that D&D has more or less moved out of the basement and into the living rooms and dining rooms of many families and friends. (Although it’s still fun to actually play the game in the basement, if you’ve got one…)
Let’s talk about all of the factors that played into this recent D&D resurgence.
I’ve been trying to get back to playing Dungeons & Dragons with my family and friends for a while now. It feels like we play maybe once a month or so these days, what with school and extracurriculars for the kids, and busy days of work for my wife and me. We’ve kinda fallen out of the habit.
I’m hoping to get on a more regular schedule. Sometimes this game is more like a sport than a hobby. I have this need to practice so I can keep getting better!
And just this past week, I think I figured out what the problem was. We’d been playing a bunch of one-shots after finishing Lost Mine of Phandelver from the D&D Starter Set. And while we had lots of fun with those short, self-contained quests, there wasn’t anything pulling us all back to the table.
We had no urgent sense of What’s Gonna Happen Next? I wasn’t doing a good job of connecting all these one-shots into a compelling narrative.
So just this past week I started reading up on how to run… a campaign!
So you’ve bravely volunteered to be the Dungeon Master for your group of players. Congratulations! Let’s get you ready for running your first-ever game of Dungeons & Dragons.
SPOILER ALERT: You’re going to have fun. You’ll be exhausted at the end of the gaming session, but you’ll have a blast.
In this article, I’ll talk about some “best practices” for preparing for your game, what to do right before the game starts, how to run the game, and what to do after the game is over. The D&D Dad has you covered, first-time DMs.
And just remember, you’ll only be a brand-new DM once. After that, you’re a veteran.
A note from the D&D Dad: I’d normally create two separate articles for this adventure session, but this one-shot by M.T. Black is special. Not only is it a great introduction to new players (I had one at this session), but the entire adventure takes place on ONE sheet of paper! So I’m simply combining my Adventure Report with my Review.
For this one-shot, we gathered multiple misfits from the world of Eberron, who then stepped into the world of the Forgotten Realms:
As I wrote in my intro to this blog, my kids are more or less responsible for my current obsession with Dungeons & Dragons. I blame them for all the money I’ve spent on hardcover campaign books, pencils, and dice!
But seriously, I don’t blame them at all. It’s been a blast showing them how to play the game, and watching them snag a rulebook and study spells or look for special skills for their favorite classes or find some Legendary magical item to add to their Magic Wish List for their current D&D character.
I’ve never been more proud of my role as a nerdy dad than when I saw my 13-year-old on the front porch swing with his nose stuck in the Players Handbook. Or when my 10-year-old has to choose between the Monster Manual and the DMs Guide for night-time reading.
So while I’m not claiming to be any sort of expert with my less-than-one-year experience playing, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about playing D&D with kids.
The party moves from the “training grounds” of Phandalin and Thundertree and encounter danger head-on in this wild and crazy adventure from the always-reliable M.T. Black! For details, see my spoilerific Adventure Report.